Part of the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, the films are the first two works of a trilogy.
Sharjah Art Foundation’s Film Programme will be screening Egyptian artist’s Wael Shawky’s Al Araba Al Madfuna I (2012) and Al Araba Al Madfuna II (2013) films online tomorrow.
The live stream can be accessed at 9:30 pm on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/417081012. As the films will be screened consecutively and as they cannot be streamed on-demand, viewers who join the streaming at a later time will not be able to watch the entire film programme from the beginning. The films are in Arabic with English subtitles.
Inspired by the artist’s experience with residents in the village of Al Araba Al Madfuna, one of the oldest cities in Upper Egypt, the films feature children from the village, dressed as grown men, who retell stories by Egyptian novelist and short story writer Mohamed Mustagab (1938–2005).
The two multi-layered films, shot in black and white in the tradition of classic Egyptian movies, explore how the ideologies and behaviours of earlier generations may be carried on, sometimes in extreme ways, by their descendants.
In Al Araba Al Madfuna I, Shawky draws on a story by Mustagab about a dying tribal leader whose tribe blindly follows the guidance of his ‘last word’ to worship certain animals. In Al Araba Al Madfuna II, he retells Mustagab’s parables ‘Horsemen Adore Perfumes’ and ‘The Offering’.
Winner of the Ernst Schering Foundation Art Award (2011), Shawky was commended by the jury for his work in film, which they characterised as ‘remarkably impressive due to its consistent development and extraordinary precision.
Shown in Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013), Al Araba Al Madfuna I premiered as part of a solo exhibition at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2012). Al Araba Al Madfuna II, co-produced by Sharjah Art Foundation and the Wiener Festwochen, premiered at the Serpentine Galleries, London (2013). It was also featured in the solo exhibition Wael Shawky: Horsemen Adore Perfumes and other stories at Sharjah Art Foundation in 2014.
Previous online screenings organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation Film Programme include Black Girl (1966), The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011) and The Landing (2019).